Care leavers support

Care Leaver Covenant logo Here at Keele we are committed to supporting students from a care background to access and succeed in Higher Education. If you are a care leaver and you are considering coming to Keele University, or you are a current student at Keele, we can provide you with a package of support that can help you pre-entry and throughout your time at university.‌

Keele University is delighted to announce that it has signed the Care Leaver Covenant. 

The Care Leaver Covenant is a national inclusion programme that supports care leavers aged 16-25 to live independently. The Care Leaver Covenant (CLC) is part of the government’s keep on caring strategy to support people leaving care to become independent.

We define a care leaver to be a young person under the age of 25 (upon entry to their course) who:

  • Has been in care (e.g. foster care or children's home) for a minimum of 13 weeks, some of which was after age 16.


  • Was privately fostered until the age of 16 or were 'looked after' until they were subject to a Special Guardianship Order.

If you are not sure if this applies to you or are unsure of what you may be eligible for please do not hesitate to contact us. If you don't meet this criteria but are care experienced you may still be eligible for some of the support we provide so please get in touch to discuss this. 

You may have spent time in care and no longer have any contact with your family, if this is the case you may be eligible for our support for estranged students

Your Student Experience and Support Officer (SESO) will be your dedicated care leaver contact, and they can offer tailored, individual and sustained support prior to arrival and throughout your time as a Keele student. Your SESO will maintain regular contact with you throughout your studies, and will check in with you to see how you are getting on. You can also contact your SESO at any time in between these contact points if you need any additional support or guidance.

With your permission, the dedicated contact can also act as a link between you, your local authority and the University to ensure you are accessing all the support that is available to you as a care leaver. 

Any contact you have with your dedicated contact will be kept confidential within our service and your choices respected at all times.

There is lots of support that you can access prior to starting your course at Keele and throughout the induction period to help you to make the right decisions and support your transition to Higher Education.

Raising aspirations and outreach

Our Widening Participation team can provide advice and support to care leavers and Looked After Children pre-entry. They can also discuss opportunities to provide bespoke events and visits for looked after children and care leavers. For more information please contact our Widening Participation Officer using the contact details below:


T: 01782 734427

Visiting the University

The University holds a number of Open Days and Applicant Visit Days throughout the year that you can attend to find out more about Keele. If you have any questions about support on an Open Day or Visit Day, there will be a representative from the Student Experience and Support team for you to speak to. You can also send questions to

The Widening Participation Officer may also be able to arrange an independent visit for you to come up and see the campus on request.

Use of contextual data

At Keele, we recognise that applicants have different backgrounds and experiences and that some applicants may not have had the same opportunities to demonstrate their suitability for Higher Education. Therefore, we will consider the additional data and information provided on your application (the contextual data) as part of the selection process to help identify applicants whose academic performance to date may not be a true reflection of their potential to succeed at university. Our offer will reflect our recognition of individual circumstances*.

If you tick the box on the UCAS application to disclose you have been in care then this information will be considered when looking at your application. For more information please see our Admissions FAQs

* This excludes applications to the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences. Please refer to the specific School webpages for their policies on the use of contextual data.

Keele peer support schemes

Find out more about our range of diverse peer support schemes.

Induction activities

As part of the Keele welcome and induction period you will be provided with resources and guides to support your transition to university study. You will attend school-based introduction sessions, as well as having opportunities to attend social events to help you get to know other new students.

On-campus accommodation

Care leavers and estranged students are prioritised for on campus accommodation as long as applications for accommodation are submitted by the deadline.

We can offer accommodation for 51 weeks if you wish to stay in the same room for the whole academic year. Keep in mind that it may not be possible to stay in the same room for the duration of you studies. 

Please be aware that due to the nature of the 51 week contracts you are likely to be sharing with postgraduate students or nursing and midwifery students.

More information about room types and the costs can be found on the Student Accommodation webpages.

Should you decide to select a 38 or 41 week contract you will still be able to access year round accommodation on campus, however you will be required to apply for vacation accommodation at the end of your contract and will most likely be required to move rooms.

If you have any further questions about applying for on campus accommodation please email for support.

Living off campus

If you would like to live off campus we can also provide advice and support on how to find accommodation in the local area through the Accommodation Services team and the ASK advice service in the Students’ Union.

For more information about support available for students living off campus please visit our webpage for Local and Commuter Students.

Care Leaver and Estranged Student Bursary

If you qualify for ‘home’ fee status and meet the eligibility criteria set out in the 'Care Leaver Definition' section above you will be entitled to a cash bursary from the University.

For more information about this bursary please visit our bursary and scholarships webpages.

Financial support

As a care leaver you may also be eligible for other loans and non-repayable support from Keele University. For more information about additional financial support available please see the Student Financial Support webpages.

Care Leavers HE Bursary

As part of your Pathway Plan you may also be entitled to a one-off £2000 Higher Education Bursary from your Local Authority. This is available to any Care Leaver who started their course before their 25th birthday, and it does not have to be repaid. Your Pathway Plan should also include information on your plans for university, accommodation, independent living, financial and other support. You should speak to your Local Authority or Leaving-Care Worker to determine how you will receive your bursary and whether it will be paid in a lump sum or in instalments.

Financial Advice

If you are unsure of what financial support you are entitled to you can contact our specialist Financial Support Team via Student Services who can advise on bursaries and scholarships, how to apply for student finance and budgeting.

Support on your course

All students at Keele are allocated an academic mentor who is a primary point of contact on your course to provide support and advice on academic issues. 

If you are experiencing any personal difficulties that may affect your studies you can submit exceptional circumstances to your school for these to be taken into consideration. You will need to provide evidence to support your exceptional circumstances request which your Student Experience and Support Officer will be able to discuss with you.

Study skills support

The academic skills team provide online resources, workshops and drop in services to help you to develop your academic and professional skills to prepare you for future work and study.

Counselling and mental health

University can be an exciting time but it can also bring with it stress and challenge. The Counselling and Mental Health service offers a team of experienced counsellors and mental health professionals who can support you during your time at University if you need it. 

Disability Support & Inclusion

If you have a disability, including specific learning difficulties or mental health and wellbeing issues the team can advise on a wide range of support to meet your individual needs. It is a good idea to contact the Disability Support & Inclusion team before you start your course at Keele University to discuss any support you may need.

Coming to the end of your studies can be a daunting time for all students, but as a care leaver you may also have additional concerns. The dedicated care leaver contact is here to help you discuss any issues or concerns and help you with the transition from university and post graduation. We can also support you to achieve your career aspirations.

Our Careers team can support and inform you throughout your time at Keele and beyond, whether you are very certain about your career plans or aren't sure what you'd like to do in the future. Either way our careers advisers are available to discuss how to make the most of your future.

The team can support with the following:

  • support with planning your career
  •  advice on job-searching strategies
  • suggestions on how to create winning CVs and how to be successful at interview
  • information relating to careers, employers and work

Contact us

Tel: 01782 734481